EMPRESS'S FAVOURITE 235 washed up to his knees. At a "small bath" he used twenty-four gallons C£ water and was attended by five or six servants, while at a "big bath" e used also twenty-four gallons, but was served by eight or nine Attendants. At this "big bath" he used medicated ointment, and had his clothes perfumed on a wire netting placed over slowly burning rare incense. He wrote to Su Tungpo saying that this system of regular baths did him a lot of good, and Su Tungpo replied: "I am pleased to hear this, but I also suggest two ingredients which can further increase your happiness, namely, thrift and compassion." There are decided social and material advantages in being a high official. In those days, the simple choice for the educated class was between being an official and obscurity—the latter usually meant 'poverty. One could achieve lasting fame, of course, by devotion to scholarship; but to many, immortal fame, even if one could be sure of it, was poor consolation for a hungry stomach. In Su Tungpo's time there was a satire on scholars who, after passing the examinations and accepting an office, continually protested that they were doing so as a personal sacrifice for the country. The story was as follows: Once upon a time there was a poor scholar who was so poor that he had no money to buy bread. He was famished, and thought of a way to get some bread to eat. He went to the outside of a bakery shop apd started to run away in horror, but failed to attract any attention, ^hen he went on to another bakery where stood a big crowd in the street. Upon catching sight of the buns, he gave out a loud scream, ran away in fright and then fell upon the ground. The crowd gathered atound him and asked him what he was frightened of. "Those buns!" the scholar replied. Everybody laughed; they had never heard,of sucn a thing. Incredulous, the owner of the bakery shop wanted to test him. He induced the scholar to go into a room where he had placed a big pile of buns, and watched him from a keyhole. Happy at the success of his stratagem, the scholar dug into the pile with both hands and began to gorge himself. Greatly touched, the baker broke into the room and said kindly to him: "Is there anything else you are afraid of?" "I am now afraid of a really good cup of hot tea," replied the scholar. One day the two sons-in-law of Han Wei, belonging to the great, rich and powerful family which produced several premiers, came to see Su Tungpo, and he asked them how their father-in-law was doing. "He is doing very well," replied one of the young men. "He tells us that he has now reached old age, and that he is going to enjoy his remaining years with music, wine, and women; otherwise, he wouldn't know how to pass his days."